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Esoteric mysteries of the Knights Templar
Buckle up for this one.
“…they worshipped the idol as a god … it bestowed on the order all its wealth, made the trees flower, and the plants of the earth to sprout forth.”
“The Templars, like all other Secret Orders and Associations, had two doctrines, one concealed and reserved for the Masters, which was Johannism; the other public, which was the Roman Catholic.”
Before anyone spoke of Freemasons, Rosicrucians, and Illuminati, the medieval Knights Templar set the gold standard for a shady and powerful secret society.
The rumors surrounding the Templars, the wild speculations and bizarre accusations, add to the centuries-deep mystery of this multinational order that vanished abruptly from history leaving many to wonder if they were truly eliminated or continued in secret.
After Christians took Jerusalem in the First Crusade, the Templars formed as a group of knights to protect Christians making pilgrimage. From there, their numbers grew.
They had a network of banks. Travelers could leave valuables and money with the Templars in exchange for letters of credit they could safely carry ended up created essentially the first multinational private banking system.
They were powerful. They were wealthy. They were secretive.
Mysterious practices and occult rumors
“The indictment ... set forth ... ‘that in all the provinces they had idols, that is to say, heads, some of which had three faces, others but one; sometimes, it was a human skull ... That in their assemblies, and especially in their grand chapters, they worshipped the idol as a god, as their saviour, saying that this head could save them, that it bestowed on the order all its wealth, made the trees flower, and the plants of the earth to sprout forth.’”
— Jules Michelet, History of France
Despite receiving official endorsement from the Catholic Church, their alleged spiritual and occult allegiances formed the basis for remarkable and outrageous rumors and accusations.
It’s difficult to untangle all of the rumors that surround the Templars but when they were rounded up, tortured, and forced to “confess,” many were reported to confess to worshipping something called “Baphomet”.
The obscure origins of “Baphomet” remain a mystery. Many believe that it was a version of “Muhammad” used during the early Crusader period. Others speculate that Baphomet could be translated via Hebrew and Greek to “Sophia” meaning “wisdom”. And the theories only get weirder from there.
“…there exists in Nature, a force which is immeasurably more powerful than steam, and a single man who is able to adapt and direct it, might change thereby the face of the whole world. This force was known to the ancients…it was the object of adoration in the Secret Rites of the Sabbath and the Temple, under the hieroglyphic figure of Baphomet or the Androgyne of Mendes.”
- Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic (1896)
The stranger rumors
Among the rumors, and in connection with Baphomet and the accusations/confessions was another recurring theme: the alleged worship of some kind of head, three-faced head, mummified head, or skull.
As described in the excerpt above, the alleged mummified head served as some kind of idol for the Templars, according to the accusers. And supposedly the head gave them riches.
“A templar of Florence declared that, in the secret chapters of the order, one brother said to the other, showing the idol, ‘Adore this head—this head is your god and your Mahomet.’”
Some theorists claim Baphomet to be the name of the head idol.
And some see connections between the Templars and the Gnostics.
Gnosticism formed as a counterpoint to Christianity in the 4th century, following lines from Judaism and Christianity, but believing in an esoteric knowledge that is separate from the natural world.
There is a seal of a Templar Grand Master from 1214 that bears the image of Abraxas, a mystical word found on ancient amulets with unknown meaning (possibly related to abracadabra) and represented as a being or deity by Gnostics.
Where are they now?
Because it can be hard to believe that such a large, wealthy, and influential group could disappear so abruptly, some believe the story that the Templars were not eradicated, but that many of them got word of the forces coming for them and fled to other lands.
Further, some believe they ended up in Scotland and continued on in Speculative Freemasonry.
Frankly I’m exhausted from researching this subject. It’s deep, complex, sometimes disturbing, and hard to follow. But that’s also what makes it so interesting.
Might be time for a lighter topic?
More excerpts plus books recommendations
“‘A deplorable and most lamentable matter, full of bitterness and grief, a monstrous business, a thing that one cannot think on without affright, cannot hear without horror, transgressions unheard of, enormities and atrocities contrary to every sentiment of humanity, &c. &c., have reached our ears.’ After a long and most extraordinary tirade of this kind, Philip accuses the Templars of insulting Jesus Christ, and making him suffer more in those days than he had suffered formerly upon the cross; of renouncing the christian religion; of mocking the sacred image[Pg 201] of the Saviour; of sacrificing to idols; and of abandoning themselves to impure practices and unnatural crimes. He characterises them as ravishing wolves in sheep’s clothing; a perfidious, ungrateful, idolatrous society, whose words and deeds were enough to pollute the earth and infect the air; to dry up the sources of the celestial dews, and to put the whole church of Christ into confusion.”
The History of the Knights Templars (1842)
“Let us state now for the edification of the vulgar…let us state boldly and precisely that all…initiates of the occult science…not only in the past, but do now, and will forever, adore what is signified by this alarming symbol….yes, there existed in the past, and there may be in the present, assemblies which are presided over by this figure, seated on a throne and having a flaming torch between the horns.”
Transcendantal Magic, 1896
The Knights Templar by Helen Nicholson
The Hidden History of the Knights Templar: The Church's Oldest Conspiracy (AUDIOBOOK) by Conrad Bauer
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco